Ever been in a meeting where the most pressing thought was something like I’ll never get back that hour of my life…? Then you have witnessed firsthand the sad truth, that a lot of meeting are a waste of time, effort and sheer human potential. It’s time to cut back, reclaim your worklife and be more happy at work.
The incremental way to happier meetings
There are many ways of tweaking your meetings so the cost on your soul is reduced. Here’s a few tried and tested methods:
- No table, no chairs. Doing a meeting standing in a small circle
- Schedule short meetings, 20 minutes max
- Set a timer or a buzzer, and stop the meeting when it goes of
- Start in a positive way, with good news. This has been shown by psychologists to increase productivity in meetings
- Invite fewer people – and no tourists. All those that just need to “bee in the loop” can be told after any relevant, specific decisions have been made.
- Make attendance voluntary. If people believe their current work is more important, they’re right. Do more to make them understand why this is important too, if that is even true.
The full monty: Kill a meeting
How long does a one hour meeting take? One hour? If there are 6 people in the meeting, it actually 6 hours spent, and with time to get to and from the meeting, and getting back to what you were working on, it’s more like 8 hours. That’s a full workday just because 6 people needed to get a detailed status, discuss endlessly over some problem or were just trying to look good. Meeting with customers are often like that: A show of keeping up appearances and seeming genuine, without much deep insight being shared or solutions designed. Smile and wave, keeping it cute and cuddly.
Skip your next meeting. If it’s your meeting, then give everyone their time back, so they can get some work done. If the meetings is someone else’s, then simply turn down the offer to attend (mental note: it’s always just an offer), and go get some work done. Later you can ask someone if there’s something you need to know after the meeting. Often it can be said if very few sentences, and that’s the scary part.